It's teacher hunting season!

Friday, December 30, 2011

End of 2011 health & NYC schools reflections: exercise & PCBs

Important notes for the end of the year:

1) The New York City Department of Education is still shamefully neglecting proper physical education / exercise with its students.
Note what the state law requires and contrast this with the reality. A small minority of students are getting the exercise that they need.
Back in October Comptroller John Liu (the excellent one that --convenient for Mayor Michael Bloomberg-- was thoroughly assailed in the press, particularly "The New York Post").
Here is how the New York Times "Schoolbook" story ("Does your school meet the state's requirements for physical education?") opened:
An audit by Comptroller John C. Liu found that many New York City schools do not provide physical education classes, or do not provide them as often as they should, despite alarming obesity rates among school-aged children and a state requirement that all students get some level of structured exercise every week.

The state requires that physical education classes be held every day for kindergarten to 3rd grade, for at least 120 minutes a week; three times a week for grades 4 to 6, also for a minimum of 120 minutes; and at least 90 minutes a week for grades 7 and 8.

The Times piece includes numerous comments. Noteworthy is the one that says that charter schools are big culprits in denying proper exercise. We should also note that a similar problem arises when schools share or co-locate with other ones. The competition between schools for gym access means that students lose out from proper gym time.

[Truthfully, New York City schools have done a poor job of attending to children's health for quite some time. See this June 2003 report by then Assembly member Scott Stringer (now Manhattan Borough President), "FAILING GRADE: HEALTH EDUCATION IN NYC SCHOOLS: An Analysis of K-8 Health Education in New York City's Public School System."]

* * *
2) Circulating these days is a Christine Quinn (City Council speaker) letter announcing legislation to address the PCB [Polychlorinated biphenyl] problem in public schools.
While it is admirable to fight this scourge that harms the health of students, teachers and other staff, it is gallingly disingenuous that Speaker Quinn is addressing this issue now. For this matter has been in the news at least two years now, with neighborhood media (newspapers) taking the lead on this issue, and the United Federation of Teachers' (UFT) taking a too-quiet campaign on this issue.

--Disingenuous because Quinn has stood 100% loyal to Bloomberg for 10 years, amidst moments such as his minimizing the danger of PCBs in schools: as in this Feb. 25, '11 NY1 story, "Mayor: School PCBs Pose No Imminent Health Threat", as referenced by Perdido Street on Feburary 26.
Bloomberg added the city's former health commissioner, Tom Frieden, says a lunchroom staple [a tuna fish sandwich] is more toxic than the schools' lights.

Note this sad December 29, 2011 NY Daily News story from a toxic Bronx school:
"Teacher from toxic Bronx school to sue after losing her baby to birth defect
Nancy Tomassi's school, PS 51, was laden with carcinogen trichloroethylene"

* * *
--By the way, our "progressive" mayor-to-be (Quinn) has stalled up New York City's Living Wage bill: "Labor Gives Quinn Cover as De Blasio Tries to Make an Issue of Her Living-Wage Delay," as reported by Dana Rubinstein in Capital New York, December 19, 2011.
The 12/19 Capital New York story reports that the New York City Council has passed two bills on PCB testing in city schools.
(See also Rubinstein's November 23, 2011 CNY story, "Perched Between Her Members and Her Patrons, Quinn Edits the 'Living-Wage' Bill in Public".)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

1/12/12 New Bronx Chap: Coalition for Public Education/Coalicion por La Educacion Publica (CPE-CEP)

New Bronx Chapter forming in mid-January:
Saturday, January 14, 2012, 12 Noon to 4 PM:
Coalition for Public Education/Coalicion por La Educacion Publica (CPE)
at the Clay Avenue Tenants' Community Center

1195 Clay Avenue (corner of 168th Street), Bronx, NY
D train to 167th Street or 4 train to 169th Street, or BX 35 bus to 168th Street and Webster Avenue.
Open to all: Parents, Educators, Students, Community leaders and Activists.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

To UFT: Denounce Police Presence at Public Ed. Meetings

Thank you, Ed Notes, for this crucial piece re the growing police presence at Panel for Education Policy meetings.

He wrote on the mayor's actions of creating an intimidating police force at meetings, a deeply undemocratic step. This harkens to some of the uglier moments of American history, Mitchell Palmer's raids, the Joseph McCarthy era.
Shame on the corporate media for not writing editorials denouncing this (by now, they must be reading the blogs and should know full well what is happening with the NYPD at the PEP meetings), and ditto for the United Federation of Teachers. (actually, I place this trend as appearing earlier than the Washington Irving PEP: at the Seward Park PEP very early in the 2011-2012 year with the same kind of police force in the building and additionally ominously, posted at the street corners adjacent to the entrances to Seward Park HS.)

I wrote a piece yesterday about the police presence at the PEP - and put together a short video focusing on that aspect.
NYC Police Turn Ugly Since Occupy Movement Began

And then this came across today -

Washington Irving HS Protest - Monitored by Large (15) Police Presence

A peaceful gathering of teachers was watched by riot police and regular police and 2 white shirts from across the street. - Teacher report

Now, there weren’t many police in riot helmets. Maybe 3 or 4, plus another 15 police (including two White Shirts) milling around. When I arrived there were two NYPD squad cars, two vans, and three mopeds. You might say to yourself, as someone responded to me on Twitter, Hey man, 3 or 4 riot-helmeted cops with their hands in their pockets, looking bored, isn’t such a big deal. Well, you’re wrong. It’s absolutely a big deal. Not because the police were going to beat up anybody, or arrest anybody, but simply because 50 teachers protesting the closing of their school do not deserve to be treated like potential rioters — even by 3 police officers. -----Political media

The above is from two separate reports. Note my [EdNotes] last post (NYC Police Turn Ugly Since Occupy Movement Began) on the growing police state (with video) from Bloomberg's private army - the NYCPD. I pointed to the growing threat education-based protests are facing. After all, Bloomberg's legacy is steeped in the schools and the growing opposition movement will be met with increasing monitoring.

We have been doing Fight Back Friday events for a few years in front of schools. But to send 15 cops with 2 white shirt supervisors?

Here's an idea: Let's do these in front of 50 schools on the same day and see how they handle it. Or maybe 1500 schools one day.

I noted in the video below a few UFT officials. They should be concerned at the presence of 15 police at a rally of 50 people.


Here is a report with video from a teacher who is at another school in the building:

The Department of Education (=Bloomberg) announced the closure of Washington Irving High School. The school, the teachers, the parents, the students and the community who knows and cares about this school fight back!

A peaceful gathering of teachers was watched by 3 riot police and about 10 regular police and 2 white shirts from across the street. What's the message? Figure!

The video sums it up beautifully. There is some inspirational testimony by one parent in this video. Great testimony by teachers as well. Feel free to watch and share!

And another from reporter John Knefel.
Teachers Protest, NYPD Officers Don Riot Helmets
John Knefel
This morning I attended an event at Washington Irving High School, in Manhattan’s Gramercy neighborhood, to protest the proposed closing of the school. Gregg Lundahl, the United Federation of Teachers chapter leader at Irving, lead teachers and students in chants that highlighted the increased income inequality that results from closing public high schools. The 50 or so participants marched up the block on sleepy Irving Street, then down the block, staying on the sidewalk the entire time. And across the street, the NYPD put on their riot helmets.
Now, there weren’t many police in riot helmets. Maybe 3 or 4, plus another 15 police (including two White Shirts) milling around. When I arrived there were two NYPD squad cars, two vans, and three mopeds. You might say to yourself, as someone responded to me on Twitter, Hey man, 3 or 4 riot-helmeted cops with their hands in their pockets, looking bored, isn’t such a big deal. Well, you’re wrong. It’s absolutely a big deal. Not because the police were going to beat up anybody, or arrest anybody, but simply because 50 teachers protesting the closing of their school do not deserve to be treated like potential rioters — even by 3 police officers.
Police departments across the country are becoming increasingly militarized. Security contractors devise new methods of coercion against protesters constantly. As a result, confrontations between peaceful activists and cops often resemble paramilitary-style raids rather than restrained police action — most obviously in the way police have dislodged Occupy encampments nationwide. The aggressive theater that the PDs engage in is meant in no uncertain terms to intimidate anyone with the gall to raise their voice in dissent. Speak up and you will be kettled, pepper sprayed, jailed, beaten with truncheons, or simply advanced on by a phalanx of heavily armored stormtroopers. This morning’s action only serves to illustrate how deeply embedded the militarized reaction to all forms of protest is in the NYPD.
Why were there police there at all? Honestly, does anyone believe that one or two officers is an insufficient force to observe 50 teachers assembled, as is their right, outside their high school? It’s completely beside the point that the officers were bored, and that there were no confrontations. Or maybe it’s not. Maybe the lazy, uneventful, automatic militarized response is what I find so distasteful. The teachers I spoke with after the event were mildly concerned, but not seriously, about the police presence. They seemed to be bewildered by it more than anything else. But an activist and journalist who writes under the name Dicey Troop and I were more incredulous. Bloomberg’s army has become omnipresent for anyone participating in OWS, but their presence at Washington Irving was almost comically disproportionate.
Organizers of the event are calling for a massive public showing on January 31st at 6:30 at Brooklyn Tech to defend Washington Irving against the city’s proposed shut-down. According to information circulated this morning, 6% of the students at Manhattan’s high-need schools (of which Irving is a part) are special needs. At Bloomberg’s new Manhattan schools, the percentage is much lower, between .5-1%, according to the flier.
Bloomberg’s New York City is a city of increasingly privatized education, and an increasingly militarized response to all forms of protest. We would do well to remember his legacy accurately.

In the NYC DOE we are seeing a blatant swindle, government used for private agenda, private gain.
[See also, this post at CounterPunch of a political arrest of a photographer by Bloomberg's de facto private political police:
"37 Hours in Lock Up: Snatched For Photographing Michael Bloomberg’s Cops"
Photo is of arrest of arrest of Stanley Rogouski.]

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Parent Involvement, Obesity Diets: Insensitivity Behind Blaming Impoverished Parents

A recent blogpost made re-think the criticisms I have had of "uninvolved parents".

Modeducation, blogger Michael Dunn, a San Francisco Bay, California area educator, has written on how the notion of parent involvement make a few class-based assumptions.

I insert below Modeducation's post which misleadingly takes its post title from New York Times' Thomas Friedman's ideas: "Stop Blaming Teachers When It’s the Parents’ Fault!", but in the post Modeducation is actually making a good argument against parent-blaming. After this, I draw the parallels with the issues surrounding food choices and the obesity epidemic. Parents are blamed while there is silence about toxic food pushers win battles to push their junk in school lunchrooms. Undergirding both issues is the toxic factor of poverty. Sadly, poverty permeates many of the issues impacting on education, yet discussion of the poverty factor --or any way to ameliorate poverty or class disparity-- remains off the table.
[In November 23, 2011's] New York Times, Thomas Friedman had an op-ed ["How About Better Parents" {sic}] that seems to bash the Ed Deformers and tell them to get off of teachers’ backs. However, rather than placing the blame for the achievement gap and other problems with public education where it belongs—on the defunding of schools and growing poverty among children—he places the blame on parents, as if they merely need to behave better and become more effective parents.

“Here’s what some new studies are also showing,” he tells us. “We need better parents. Parents more focused on their children’s education can also make a huge difference in a student’s achievement.”

There are several problems with this proposal. First, it conflates correlation with causation. Parents who are more involved in their children’s education tend to be more affluent. There is plenty of data correlating affluence with higher academic achievement. So is it affluence or parental involvement or both?

Secondly, can parents simply be taught, encouraged or forced to be more involved in their children’s education or is this a product of their class backgrounds? And what does parental involvement even mean?

Plenty of studies indeed show that parents who read often to young children and who use larger and more complex vocabularies with their kids end up with kids who have significantly larger vocabularies and pre-literacy skills by the time they are ready for kindergarten, creating an achievement gap before children have even started school. Affluent parents are also more likely to have the time and education to do this with their children. A parent who works two or three jobs or who is barely literate is not going to read to their children or use complex language with them.

Affluent parents are also more likely to be able to make it to after school and evening meetings, open houses and community events. They are more likely to understand how the system works and have the self-confidence (or self-entitlement) necessary to navigate the system, advocate for their children and challenge perceived injustices or inadequacies in their children’s schools and classrooms.

Schools are essentially middle class institutions that have mores, norms and expectations similar to those in middle class families. Middle class children, therefore, come to school with the “cultural capital” necessary to succeed, whereas lower income kids often must learn this culture from scratch.

In short, Friedman is correct that parental involvement is important and parents who do, or who learn to, participate in their children’s education are more likely to see their kids succeed academically. However, his op-ed piece implies that there is something wrong with parents who are not involved with their kids’ education, when in reality it is often not their faults. Furthermore, whether you are blaming teachers or parents, you are still missing the point: the most significant influence on academic achievement is a child’s socioeconomic background. So long as we continue to ignore poverty, as long as we accept a society in which a few have all the wealth and a large minority is desperately poor, neither better teaching, no better parenting, is going to close the achievement gap or ensure that all children succeed academically.

* * *
Now, let us look at parallels with the issue of class, diet and the twins of obesity and diabetes.
A school professional, cash-strapped and a single parent reacted to the news of the government authorities that took custody of a 200-pound Cleveland Heights, Ohio son from his parents, on the charge of medical neglect. She put the issue as this: she supports her son on her own, she pays rent, car insurance, gas fuel for her car, apartment utilities. Only so much is left for food, and with that limited budget, there are few options. So, she is left with just so much to spend. She said she doesn't want a guilt trip for just a couple of times satisfying his son's taste-buds.
Plus, the columnists and bureaucrats who scold the parents surely are not familiar with the staple stores in blue collar neighborhoods: convenience stores, whether the corner store in cities or the gas stations-cum-food-marts. These places specialize in canned or ready-to-eat foods. Blue collar parents cannot find arugula or organic strawberries or other pesticide-free treats. Trader Joe's stores, the middle class alternative to Whole Foods or Fairway Supermarket, do not appear in blue collar minority neighborhoods.

Plus, who are pundits or bureaucrats to scold parents when school lunches cater to sweet tastes with carbohydrate and additive-heavy pizza or burgers. And has anyone noticed that the oranges offered in school cafeterias are the cheapest looking products, more frequently the low barrel "juicing oranges" rather than the navel oranges?
Plus, why are we ignoring the power of the junk food players that push french fries and the like are prevailing over the Barack Obama administration? See Dina ElBoghdady's November 15, 2011 article "Obama administration loses effort to make school lunches healthier" in the Washington Post. (The Department of Agriculture's improved guidelines got nixed by industry-influenced Congresspeople.)
Plus, who are those people to lecture parents when mayoral control mayors such as New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg supplant physical education classes with programs overloaded with block-programming doubling up of English and math, along with the competition for gymnasium access when Bloomberg or [Corey] Booker-type mayors make public schools compete with multiple charter schools into their buildings with "co-locations?"
[Another Washington Post article quoted experts that suggest that confiscating or sequestering a child away from parents can contribute to unhealthy stress on the child and its mental development:
“Children at that age are very susceptible to high levels of stress, that’s a biological fact... the neural networks that are developing most rapidly at that time tend to be most susceptible to the biology of stress,” Dr. Robert Anda told me.
Anda is a co-investigator of an ongoing study funded by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention called the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study. It tracks how childhood trauma can impact the brain and have far-reaching effects. Anda is not suggesting that Zofia [Leszczynski] suffered trauma, but he makes clear that removing any child from a parent at that age has to be considered carefully.

Shoplifting... does anyone see the poverty factor here?]
It is a cruel irony that the government took the son from the parents with the charge of medical neglect. Poverty fuels the condition of poor food options; but parents and children are victims; and by the way, know-it-alls blame the parents.

Friday, December 9, 2011

N.J. "is Roiling Over Charter Schools": Wave of Student, Parent Teacher Fight-Backs

No, it is not just New York City parents, students and teachers protesting at Panel for Educational Policy that oppose charter schools.

A wave of push-back against the imposition of charter schools is taking place across New Jersey. This time the fight-back is in middle class or upper-middle class suburbs.

Rutgers Prof speaks and organizes against charters
Julia Sass Rubin, a founding member of Save Our Schools NJ, says public schools are being undermined.

“This is happening across the country,” said Rubin, during a visit to the Lawrence branch of the Mercer County Library on Wednesday. “It’s a national phenomenon.”

Rubin is an associate professor at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University. Her talk was hosted by the Lawrence chapter of the League of Women Voters.

Rubin's talk, "Keeping Public Schools Public," covered the state of education in the Garden State and how Save Our Schools NJ is working to strengthen public school systems.

Save our Schools NJ is grassroots campaign that advocates for equal access to high-quality public education and for reform of state charter school law, including a local vote to allow charter schools to open in a community.

“Local communities should have a say if they want a charter school,” Rubin said.

Schools districts throughout the state – including Princeton, South Brunswick, East Brunswick, New Brunswick and Highland Park – have taken steps to oppose charter schools they oppose.

“Busloads of suburbanites are supposed to have an Occupy DOE [Department of Education] on Dec. 16,” Rubin said. “The state is roiling over charter schools.”

The organization also has an issue with the the lottery system for charter school enrollment. Rubin said most disadvantaged families don’t have the resources to get the necessary information about charter enrollment, so charter schools end with mostly affluent children.

No community clamour for charters; no community say in imposition of charters; activist group pushes "opt-out" bill.
also from, December 9, 2011:
Save Our Schools NJ has proposed the Opt-Out Lottery Bill, which would require charter schools to automatically include everyone in their communities that qualify and give families the option to opt-out if they do not want to be considered for enrollment. The bill is designed to level the field for parents who don’t have easy access to information or are restricted by language barriers.

Rubin expects action on the opt-out legislation and other proposed bills will come soon. “This has become a headache for the administration,” she said. “There will be something done with the bills.”

Save Our Schools NJ wants to maintain the current school funding formula and opposes to school vouchers. She compared the current voucher bill, the Opportunity Scholarship Act, to money laundering.

“If you give me a dollar and I give that dollar back, have you actually given me a dollar?” Rubin asked. Although vouchers prevent money being taken away from public school funds it negatively creates new subsidy streams for private schools, Rubin said.

Rubin also wants to stop additional segregation in schools. According to Rubin, there are 500 heavily segregated school systems in the state and the ones that are mixed are being targeted by charter schools.

“We want to see suburban children going to urban schools and vice versa,” Rubin said. “It’s good to mix it up.”

Several members of the audience agreed there is a need for more school integration.

Retired teacher Lloyd Fredericks, who taught at a high school in Newark, said the state has forgotten the benefits of being a melting pot. He added that without public schools there is no nation.

Teaneck protest parallels NYC struggle against closing schools for charter schools
From the Record, December 7, 2011:
"Crowd rallies against proposed virtual charter school in Teaneck"
School officials and police estimated about 200 people turned out at 3:30 p.m. for an event scheduled to last several hours. Students waved signs declaring “Don’t bleed our good public schools” and “Local $$ for Teaneck Scholars.”

Speakers took the microphone to call for a local vote on charter approvals throughout the state and to criticize the proposal for a full-time cyber charter — all while student drummers pounded to bolster the applause.

“This virtual charter will do much more harm than good,” declared Lev Herskovitz, 18. “In our society today we rely on technology far too often and this is not a case where it should be dominantly present. Classrooms are where the real learning takes place.”

Organizers of the Garden State Virtual Charter say it will draw only a few students, and therefore a small amount of funding, from Teaneck; most of its initial group of 1,000 in grades K-12 will come from across New Jersey, they say.

District officials balked, however, when they received a letter from the state Department of Education suggesting they set aside $15.4 million for the charter. State officials have said that figure was meant only as a budgeting tool, but Teaneck filed a legal petition Tuesday asking the state to rescind the letter and delay approving any virtual charters until New Jersey legislates a fair, manageable way to fund them. The Office of Administrative Law has not yet scheduled a hearing.

Home districts pay 90 percent of their per-pupil costs for students who attend charters from their towns.

Jason Flynn, a founder of the proposed charter, said in a release Tuesday that his group would push ahead. The charter “will bring state of the art digital technology to deliver a high quality, highly personalized education to our students who … are not succeeding in a traditional classroom setting,” he said in release. He could not be reached Wednesday.

The Teaneck Board of Education has stated it does not oppose charters, virtual charters or virtual learning; it’s against a process that requires officials to set school budgets before they can estimate how many students will head to charters.

Speak Up Highland Park handed out flyers in Teaneck inviting people to “Occupy” the Education Department in Trenton on Dec. 16 at 11 a.m. to call for a local voice in charter approvals.

In Highland Park, the District refused a charter three times, the charter is shoved at the district a fourth time
From the Daily Record, November 28, 2011:
"Highland Park charter school meeting forum for parents, legislators to discuss issues"

The Teaneck charter is a "virtual learning" proposal. Lee Fang at The Nation has written a piece on "How Online Learning Companies Bought America's Schools."

From the Nation piece: commercial learning is a revolving door destination for former New York City schools chancellor Joel Klein and former District of Columbia mayor Adrian Fenty.

Moe’s [investment banker Michael Moe] conference marked a watershed moment in school privatization. His first “Education Innovation Summit,” held last year, attracted about 370 people and fifty-five presenting companies. This year, his conference hosted more than 560 people and 100 companies, and featured luminaries like former DC Mayor Adrian Fenty and former New York City schools chancellor Joel Klein, now an education executive at News Corporation, a recent high-powered entrant into the for-profit education field. Klein is just one of many former school officials to cash out. Fenty now consults for Rosetta Stone, a language company seeking to expand into the growing K-12 market.

As Moe ticked through the various reasons education is the next big “undercapitalized” sector of the economy, like healthcare in the 1990s, he also read through a list of notable venture investment firms that recently completed deals relating to the education-technology sector, including Sequoia and Benchmark Capital. Kleiner Perkins, a major venture capital firm and one of the first to back and Google, is now investing in education technology, Moe noted.

See what can happen with representative democracy, instead of total mayoral control: Newark advisory board rejects a charter school proposal:
NJN News, April 7, 2011:
It’s been a tumultuous time in Newark since the controversial school overhaul plan was leaked to the press in February. It calls for consolidating some schools and co-locating others – both of which would free up space for charter schools, and creating new traditional public schools. In a surprising move, Newark’s School Advisory Board rejected the latter proposal.

In New Jersey we thus see a parallel to the New York City push-back. Yet, the people have more power, in contrast to the voice-less parents in New York City under mayoral control.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Long Island Principals Show Autonomy, Protest Teacher Evaluations

Long Island principals are fewer in number than those in New York City.

Yet, Long Island principals signing a petition protesting New York State expectations for basing teacher evaluations on student test scores vastly outnumber the New York City principals making the same protests.

The numbers of principals signing the petition:
Long Island 502

Westchester 59

New York City 35

Total principals New York State 756

What can we interpret from this?
In Long Island, principals have greater autonomy, under locally based, with elected representatives running school policy. In New York City, even the principals are running scared, in a system of mayoral control.
And which system sees students better prepared for college?
Which system has students graduating with authentic diplomas?
Not New York City, in which mayoral control has driven a school system into the ground over the last decade.

Source, "More Principals Join Teacher Evaluation Protest" in New York Times "Schoolbook" section.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Meet an Ohio ATR-parallel -Eking Out Existence, Missing Caring for Dying Mother

View this video on PBS' "Need to Know."

The 50s-something teacher you see in the video still is a decades-long veteran teacher, laid off by --probably-- the Cleveland city schools.

"Need to Know" follows her. Right after she's laid off she's a sub and tutoring.

Alas, she's back at her old school. The catch: she's working for half the pay.
--SOUND FAMILIAR???? Just like New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg's dream of halving the teaching force, creating ATRs, dismissing veterans.
And she's getting NO benefits.

Apparently, she's in a parallel to F-status. She has to work 60 days straight to get her health insurance back. The "Twilight Zone" nightmare is that, to make it through the 60 days, she has to pass on taking days off to be with her dying mother.

In this Dickensian tragedy, her mother passes away. She gets her health insurance.

This is the hell wrought by Arne Duncan, working in obeisance to Bill Gates, Eli Broad, Dick & Betsy DeVos.

Click here to see "Help Wanted: Revisiting the uncounted millions", by William Brangham on PBS' "Need to Know", broadcast on December 2, 2011, this must see American tragedy/ scandal.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Giant story ignored: Bloomberg @ MIT: I'd 1/2 the Teachers and Increase Class Size

Another monstrous outrage by our autocratic mayor (Cambridge. MA, 11/29).

Another outrageous stratagem calling for a mass mobilization; WHY DIDN'T UFT'S MULGREW LEAD CHANT ON THIS DURING YESTERDAY'S MARCH?

At yesterday's labor solidarity march alone among unions, the United Federation of Teachers gave out thumb-sized noise makers, whistles without the whistle ball.
A mistake or a cynical attempt to prevent chants from forming.
Kudos to those that did attempt to chant "Save Our Schools" among the din.

The United Federation of Teachers, the New York City teachers union needs to have a coordinated media campaign and mass march against the latest outrages uttered by City-state Prince-Mayor Michael Bloomberg:
Cathie Black, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Michael Mulgrew, NYC schools, United Federation of Teachers
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It’s a jaw-dropping prescription for fixing city schools.
“Professor” Michael Bloomberg said Thursday he would accomplish more with less by slashing the tea ching staff in half — and that’s just the beginning, reports CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.
He looked like he was from another planet when he dressed as a hippie for a political show, but the mayor’s blueprint for fixing city schools have some asking “what was he smoking?”
“If I had the ability to just design the system and say ex cathedra this is what we’re going to do you would cut the number of teachers in half and weed out all the bad ones,” Bloomberg said.
That’s right. The mayor told people at a Massachusetts Institute of Technology conference it would be far better to run city schools with way fewer people. And, by the way, on the billionaire’s perfect planet that would mean cramming more kids into each classroom.
“And double the class size with a better teacher is a good deal for the students,” Bloomberg said.
Andrea Spencer is dean of the School of Education at Pace University.
“When I heard the statement I was really shocked,” Spencer said. “There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that half of the teachers in any system are ineffective. What there is evidence to support is the fact that larger classes really place detriments in the way of learning.”
But “Professor” Bloomberg is sticking to his views.
“The best thing you can do is put the best teacher you can possibly find and afford in front of the classroom and if you have to have fewer because there’s only a certain number of dollars to go around, I’m in favor of that,” Bloomberg said.
United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew s aid he put the mayor’s latest views on teaching in the same category of his decision to appoint a former magazine editor with no teaching experience to be schools chancellor.
“So the mayor thinks this is a good idea, in high schools to have class size in high schools of 70 kids. Clearly the mayor has never taught,” said United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew.
“And probably the mayor’s having another Cathie Black moment.”
The mayor also said he’s given teachers a 105 percent raise since he took office. Mulgrew said maybe the mayor should have stopped in at a math class while he was at MIT.
In lamenting the quality of teachers, the mayor claimed they come from the bottom 20 percent of their class and not the best schools.